TIC Update from Al Concilio
It’s been a very busy start to the new year for the TIC program. We have added three new schools in Waterbury: West Side Middle School, North End Middle School and Wallace Middle School.
On October 10th we installed the classroom hatcheries in all three schools. Hugh McCutchen and Ed Albrecht provided their expertise in helping to complete the installations. The three new teachers are Patty Monks, Rich Atkins and Michele Valenti. The students are all part of the gifted program in each school. On November 20th Dom Falcone, Ed Dearborn and I delivered 200 brown trout eggs to each of six schools which included Memorial School and Westover in Middlebury and Polk School in Watertown. We also provided new ammo carb, sponges, media bags and trout life-cycle pamphlets for the students in all the schools.
A few days before the eggs were delivered, Sue Johnson at the Memorial School had her chiller break down and it stopped working. Sue has been in the program for about six years so she has the oldest chiller, I talked to Glen who contacted some of the board members and we purchased the new Trade Winds chiller which has a five year warranty on it. This morning I got a call from Alice Hallaran from Westover, and she is having some problems with her chiller also. At this time we will not be adding any more schools to our program.
The teachers and students are very excited to be participating in the program, and we will have over 300 kids involved this year. Thanks to all of you who have continued to support our program especially Dom and Ed.
Photo-L-R Ed Dearborn, Michele Valenti and Dom Falcone
TIC Program 2010-11
from Al Concilio
It’s been another successful year for the TIC program. We added Westover School in Middlebury and the Polk School in Watertown. Installation of the classroom hatcheries in the new schools was accomplished in early September with the help of Hugh McCutchen from the Hammonasset Chapter. Alice Hallaran, a teacher at Westover, has been working with seventy-five high school students, while Jessica Sarandrea has twenty-seven very eager fifth graders in Watertown. The program equipment has constantly been upgraded. We discontinued the use of the UV filter and Sue Johnson (Memorial Middle School in Middlebury) tried out a new handmade breeding basket.
On November 17th, I was accompanied by Dom Falcone and Dick Hemenway to all three schools to deliver the eyed eggs. Dick has developed an excellent website for the Polk School this year. One of the most rewarding parts of this project is seeing the excitement of the students as you enter the classroom. Unfortunately, the Westover students were taking tests and most of the Memorial School students were at specials; however, as we entered Mrs. Sarandrea’s fifth grade class, you would think we were celebrities. After a lively discussion with students, Dom passed around the two hundred brown trout eggs as kids strained to see the developing eyes. Dick took photographs to capture the event.
During the last two weeks, we conducted field trips for all three schools. Polk School visited Black Rock State Park and released their fish into Branch Brook. Alice and her students stocked their brown trout into the Pomperaug River at the Bent of the River Audubon Center. On May 9th, Sue Johnson involved over one hundred seventh graders in releasing about eighty fry into Hop Brook Stream. Students also collected and identified macroinvertebrates, recorded temperatures, searched for aquatic plants and conducted water quality tests.
This year proved to be our most challenging as we had more fish that died than ever before. All the teachers and students, however, did not get discouraged and continued to carefully monitor their tanks. Their persistence paid off as they each had at least thirty fish to release.
Thanks to Dom Falcone, Dick Hemenway and Ed Dearborn for their help to make this year a success.
Reports from Al Concilio Spring 2009
Trout Release 2009
On May 1st as it began to drizzle, John Ploski and I headed out to
Memorial School in Middlebury. When we entered Sue Johnson’s classroom,
students’ eyes lit up and we soon had them carefully removing
brown trout fry from the 55-gallon aquarium and counting them. The final
We actually had more than we originally started with (100) because several
months earlier we lost quite a few fish and had to replenish the supply.
When we arrived at the Audubon Center in Southbury we met Ken Elkins,
the new director of education. He was very helpful and spoke to the
kids about some of the natural beauty surrounding them. The release
went extremely well as kids and parents eagerly poured their cups with
wriggling fry into the Pomperaug River. The seventh graders also did
sampling for macroinvertebrates and water testing. Luckily, the rain
held off until the kids were ready to board the bus. Another successful
year was complete.
Trout in the Classroom Update 4/25/08
TIC liberation Day
Information provided by TIC Project Leader Al Concilio
We had a very successful TIC liberation day for Memorial
School in Middlebury on April 25th, with Sue Johnson's seventh graders.
"TU member John Ploski also helped out at the event" which
took place at the Bent of the River Audubon Center in Southbury. Students,
teachers and even some parents eagerly participated in releasing about
175 trout fry. Students also seined the river for macroinvertebrates
and then identified the organisms that were sources of food for the
trout. It was a wonderful culmination to all the hard work the seventh
graders had put forth during the year.
Trout in the Classroom Update 11/26/07
Information provided by TIC Project Leader Al Concilio
The TIC program is in full swing again this year. An orientation was
held at Northeast Utilities Headquarters in Berlin on September 17.
The event, which included all new teachers in the program, was well
organized and very informative. Our chapter is continuing to sponsor
Sue Johnson’s seventh grade classes at the Memorial Middle School
in Middlebury. In October the 55 gallon tank and other classroom hatchery
components were reassembled.
After great anticipation among the students, one hundred brown trout
eggs were delivered on Monday, November 19. The eggs came from the Burlington
Hatchery along with three packets of different-sized fish food. Last
year, Sue started with free-swimming brook trout, but this year she
received eyed eggs.
Students assisted in acclimating the pink-colored eggs to the tank temperature
and then slowly deposited them into a breeder basket hung off the side
of the aquarium. As usual, excitement filled the room as the seventh
graders realized that their project was about to begin. They will spend
the next six weeks or so carefully observing the eggs and eliminating
any that die (turn white). Students will use a math formula to predict
when the fish eggs will hatch into alevin (yolk fry). The yolk sac,
which is attached to the alevin, will slowly disappear as the trout
grow and eventually the students will begin to feed their fish. When
the fry are large enough, they will be released into a local stream.
Naugatuck Pomperaug Chapter joins the TIC program November
15, 2006 in Middlebury at the Middle School.
The membership (rightfully so) often ask "what do
you do with the money raised from the banquet and the monthly raffles.
Our chapter this year committed to a rather large sum of our reserves
to fund the first
(TIC) Trout in the Classroom program. With $400.00 from a very generous
family, Ted and Ellen Wright of Cheshire, and NPTU putting in the remainder
we made it happen. The total cost for each "hatchery isapproximately
$1200.00 with the chiller costing about half of the "hatchery".
Al Concilio , Ed Albrecht and ( Rich Guarino of the Thames Valley chapter)
not in the picture and the state coordinator put all of the pieces together
to make it work.
Sue Johnson, a seventh grade teacher in the Memorial Middle School,
volunteered to take on this project. A 55 gallon aquarium was set up
in her room during the month of December. The setup includes a chiller,
UV sterilizer, submersible pump, aquarium filter, aerator, and thermostat
that mounts on the side of the hatchery. Normally the project begins
in late September when brook trout eggs are delivered, but because we
got a late start we will place 100 small brook trout in the tank. Students
will learn to maintain the temperature at between 48-52 F. The temperature
affects ammonia and oxygen concentrations and fish metabolism. They
will also test for pH, dissolved oxygen, and ammonia levels. Since the
fish have already hatched and absorbed their yolk sacs, they will need
to be fed. The amount and size of the food changes as the trout develop.
Students will monitor the progress of the brookies and will record data
for all the water quality factors until spring. At that time they will
take a field trip to a stream chosen by the state fishery biologists
and release the trout.
We will be picking up small "brookies" at the
Quinebaug Valley Fish Hatchery January 11th and plan to "stock
out" in some time in April. We plan to implement a program in 2007
starting with eggs and will follow the "DI" Development Index
Program that is current used for the Salmon (SIC) In the Classroom program.
Our own Al Concilio has had extensive experience teaching the "DI"
method when he was with the (CRSA) Connecticut River Salmon Association
Trout in the Classroom (TIC) programs have been in place
all across the country for more than 20 years. In New York, TIC was
started through the efforts of the late Joan Stoliar in 1997. The program
was designed specifically for teachers who want to incorporate more
environmental education into their curriculum and need outside help.
It gives TU members the opportunity to get involved with their local
schools, while teaching kids about water quality, aquatic life, and
other environmental issues.
What is Trout in the Classroom?
Trout in the Classroom is a relatively simple program. Teachers set
up an aquarium and incubate trout eggs in their classroom, under the
guidance of a Trout in the Classroom coordinator (often a TU member).
Together, they ensure that all of the equipment has been purchased and
is assembled by September. While the program varies from state to state,
in general the teacher and students are responsible for daily maintenance
and observation of the eggs, while the coordinator is responsible for
obtaining permits and locating a certified egg source.
The final result is an aquarium full of trout fry that is released into
a state-approved body of water during a class field trip. Trout in the
Classroom is an extremely rewarding program for students, teachers,
and mentors. The program can be set up in one school, or, as some chapters
of Trout Unlimited have done, as a collaboration with many different
How do I get involved as a TU member?
There are as many opportunities as there are schools and teachers in
your area. There may even be a member of your chapter who is also a
teacher in the local school system. It is extremely important that you
find a teacher who is very excited about the idea and will work with
you throughout the entire process; the teacher who chooses to undertake
this program is the secret to its success.
The release of the Brook Trout in our 1st Hatchery in
Middlebury Middle School
Our First 100 Trout!
The trout are growing quickly.